Defence intervention

The UK Minister for Competition has issued a European Intervention Notice to the UK Office of Fair Trading in relation to General Dynamics Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Alvis.

Gerry Sutcliffe, the UK Minister for Competition, Consumers and Markets today issued a European Intervention Notice to the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in relation to General Dynamics Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Alvis.

Sutcliffe took the decision as he believes that the interests of UK national security may be relevant to the proposed acquisition.

This is the first European Intervention Notice issued under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act. The notice allows for an initial investigation that will enable Ministers to decide whether to clear or refer the merger or seek undertakings in lieu of a reference.

General Dynamics and Alvis agreed on the terms of a £309 million cash offer to be made by Morgan Stanley & Company Limited on behalf of General Dynamics for all of Alvis’ outstanding shares on March 11, 2004.

The board of directors of each company approved the proposed acquisition.

The UK OFT is to make its report to the Secretary of State by 24 May 2004.